The years from 1945 to 1974 were an era of Grand Expectations. At the end of World War II, spontaneous celebrations filled downtown streets across the nation. The war was over. Sons and daughters were coming home. Democracy triumphed over fascism. The Great Depression was a memory. Prosperity was ahead. It was time to purchase a home, start a family, and return to work. However, despite the optimism, new concerns were on the horizon. Select what you consider to be the most significant challenge of this era and discuss its historical significance.
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The greatest challenge of the post-World War II United States was that many women wanted to remain working and many men came back from the war and needed a job. All these young people had put off marriage, college, house buying and such during the war, and suddenly there was a huge need for all of those things.
The biggest challenge facing the United States after World War II was the rise of Communism and the Cold War. Consider all of the tension, fear, war, backlash, and turmoil that developed from the Cold War: the arms race, fear of nuclear holocaust, duck and cover, McCarthyism, Red Scare, Korean War, Vietnam, Sputnik, Cuban Missile Crisis-- the list could go on and on, and does go on and on, all the way up until the collapse of the Soviet Union. The United States had other issues going on during this time period, like the Civil Rights Movement, but the Cold War remained a dark constant, creating a climate of fear among the population that would forever shape the mindset of future generations.
People probably didn't think so back then, but the greatest challenge of this era was going to be the challenge of responding to demands from marginalized groups. The US at the end of WWII was a country made for white males. In the coming decades, women and non-whites would push for full inclusion in the society. This would be a huge challenge to America's society and it would be of tremendous historical significance because it would lead to a major reordering of that society.
Definitely the Great Depression
Poster #2 could be right about the challenge of getting everybody into that Agora. My grandfather offers the example of the city swimming pool (early 1950's) that had the sign saying, "White Only."
Gramps also suggests that the threat of nuclear annihilation became the basis of dark humor. What do you do when the air raid siren sounds? Bend over, put your head between your legs, and kiss your ... "
Well, that is enough of that.
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